Relationship Marketing to Score BIG in 2012
By Bob Speyer, Web Success Team
Nothing is more appreciated and respected in business than a referral. It shows confidence in your brand, hands on experience and the ability to connect with people. It is the bi-product of a successful business–customer relationship. In today’s competitive business climate and the growing influence of the Internet to affect decision making, the marketing paradigm has changed.
Traditional Marketing vs New Relationship Marketing
Traditional Marketing is transactional based. Go for the sale! Present an offer, coupon, tell why you can’t live without the product, or why it is better than the competition. You go for the jugular. Try to convince, cajole, or present the “obvious” facts to buy, buy, buy. You’re in the moment. I need or want it now.
Whereas Relationship Marketing is long term, trying to get customers for life. It is about cultivating your target market, offering advice, giving to get, and be a resource for your potential customers. Think historically, how people in the “brick and mortar” days knew everyone in their community and were both a friend and confidant. Relationship Marketing is about building confidence and growing the relationship. Make them “feel” they can count on you, and then deliver.
How to Cultivate that Relationship
Because we live in a digital world, cultivating online relationships takes time and effort. A formula for success includes building a quality online community following for your products and services. The use of Social Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter will help promote your brand. Offer quality content on blog posts, Twitter feeds and Facebook and Linkedin posts. Be consistent in your brand message and offer value. Be genuine and passionate about your brand and care about your fans and followers. Post and field questions, reach out to potential customers and offer solutions to their problems, needs or interests.
Turn Friends and Fans into Paying Customers
Once relations are on a solid footing, you can reach out to your friends and fans by giving them clear offers — clear calls to action. Tell them what they will get for their money. Maintain a consistent style, using personal and promotional content. Don’t hold back — give them your best stuff. Profit through joint ventures to reach out to partner networks. And integrate offline activities to optimize online, like networking, joining relevant groups and be accessible.
The use of loyalty programs can be very successful. Identify brand evangelists (advocates of your brand) and have them help promote your products and services. Encourage them to share their stories with their networks, interact with them regularly, swap tips and ask for their advice. This is again a form of referral/relationship based marketing. And don’t forget to reward your evangelists, even if it is simply thanking them publicly with a Tweet or Facebook post.
“Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken”
Relationship Marketing is the new currency of business. People are tired of being “sold” to; they want to feel they know their salesman or woman. In 2012, we are entering a new age of marketing. It’s not enough to have the best product or service; rather are you someone I want to or enjoy doing business. It’s not just about the money. People are not commodities. They want to feel they are in command of their destiny and not just an autonomic response to a stimulus.
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